Thursday, June 30, 2011

My second work experience in NYC

One of the women in my office can't stop coughing.  I thought it was just an acute issue, but apparently its been going on for months...maybe years.  Don't worry, it isn't some life-threatening condition, it's psycho-somatic.  Whenever she starts to get nervous she sounds like she is coughing up a hairball; so it is especially present during office meetings and fund-raising events.  Everyone in the office feels compelled to play along and offers advice; everything from home remedies to pulmonoligists and acupuncture has been offered up.  She keeps a running commentary on her medical status.  She slurs her words too, which makes me think maybe her undiscovered anxiety disorder that manifests as nervous hairball coughs is due to a very real speach impediment.  It took her 15 minutes to get through 5 sentences today in the meeting, the imbedded inefficiency in this adds to the ridiculousness of my life and makes my day that much better.

Oh, and one day, something fell off of the roof from the building next door to us.  Everyone ran over to the window, I think they were all secretly hoping it was a body or something traumatic like that.  No one could see where it landed.  I think it was debris from the awesome party the Europeans are throwing at the hostel next door.  Those kids can party.

My first work experience in NYC

I've been wanting to tell you about Steven, my old boss back at CACC, where I taught financial literacy to women in shelters.  When Steven wasn't hopping around the office hollering 'CLINER', one of his pet names for me (the other was RC), he was hovering outside my office door, excitedly rambling about the newest breakthrough he had in psycho-therapy that week.  Every morning, he would yell for me to come sit in his office under the pretense of an 'office meeting.'  He would keep me prisoner there for hours, alternating between rants about the newest motorcycle part that he was using to fix his Ducati and his long-distance relationship with a girl he never failed to mention was two years my junior.  As if that wasn't creepy enough, every Wednesday we took an hour long subway trip to the Bronx together to do our outreach work.  These hours were typically filled with his innocuous chatter while I politely endured his halitosis.  Our "conversation" always included at least 20 ego-stroking minutes in which he explained how, one day, he would be a millionaire, like his brother.  Once, though, he really offended me.  He gestured to a women and her children sitting across from us and said under his breath, "Poor people shouldn't be allowed to have so many children."  ...she and her beautiful children happened to be of African American descent.  I quit two days later.
I find these memories somewhat amusing now that I don't deal with him every day.  This is a good rendition of how harried I looked on a day to day basis there. 

                     "CLINER!!"  ........................."um, did you want me?"


Am I becoming ‘one of them’  when I first moved to manhattan, I was appalled by the abrasive behavior, unnecessarily cold shoulders and completely odd-ball antics.  After decking my cat out in full matching harness and leash gear, and taking him for a walk in the patchy green ‘no dogs allowed’ territory alongside the Hudson River, I’m beginning to think I’m becoming one of them.  Perhaps I haven't completely embraced the "shove old women aside on subway" persona, but I may be getting scarily close to the "ride around on my 3 wheel in a pink leopard jumpsuit" one.